Adding value for your dental patients
All businesses, including dental practices are based on some form of exchange between the seller and the customer (or in the case of dental practices, patients) and both parties will be exchanging something of relative worth.
Value = Benefits less Efforts less Risks less Price
When we talk about value we mean:
• A fair return or equivalent in goods, services or money for something
• Relative worth, utility or importance: precise significance
• Something intrinsically desirable
The biggest problem is that human beings are notoriously complicated beings and the perception of value can differ from one individual to the next. This element of subjectivity is what marketing must try to alleviate – we need to be certain of who our target audience are, what they want and need, and how we can differentiate our value proposition from that of our competitors. Our aim as marketers is to ensure that we provide strategies and tactics that are aligned with a business’ overall goals and that help deliver the best perceived value to customers/patients.
In order to engage with your target audience you need to be thinking about your service from their point of view and answer the fundamental question “What’s in it for me?” (WIFM) – What benefits are they looking for?
Be cautious of not merely listing treatments but rather the benefits that the patient derives from having/using your service.
As humans, we are emotional and instinctive and we all have our own concept of what is of value to us. Don’t try to second guess what it is that your target audience values – find out, ask them! Do your research and make sure you align your practices’ value proposition to what your target audience want and need.
Likely value elements for dental patients
• Peace of mind
• Self confidence (healthy smile)
• Feeling safe and in good hands;
• Trust in doing the ‘right thing’ (see previous blog)
• Time – being listened to, not rushed
• Value for money (via dental plans, discounts off additional treatments)
How can you offer your patients more without bankrupting yourself?
Start by mapping out your patient’s journey with you and include all of the touch points that they have with your practice brand. How can you improve their experience? How can you improve the level of service you provide?
Tangibles – the things that patients can see/hear/smell. These are the elements that patients can and will make judgements on.
For example, the patient environment – interiors, staff, morale & attitude, quality of patient literature
Intangibles – the elements that patients cannot see/hear/smell but are the vital backbone to service delivery
For example, procedures and policies in place to safe guard patients, integrity and ethos of the practice
The aim is to offer your patients a service that they perceive to be superior to that offered by the competition. It really is often a case of ‘the little things make the biggest difference’ and, if you can make your patients feel cared about and truly valued, you are likely to engage with them, make a connection and form a long-term relationship that results in repeat business and plenty of patient referrals.
It helps to refer back to our earlier equation: Value = Benefits-Efforts-Risks-Price –how can we demonstrate the benefits whilst minimising the perceived effort, risk and cost to our patients?
Marketing isn’t just about generating sales in the short term, it’s about creating a strong brand and value proposition that ensures patient loyalty, referrals and long term success.
If you need help ensuring that your marketing is providing and communicating value to your customers, then please get in touch – that’s our added value!